Friday, October 09, 2009

Dismissing The Prize

The country is full of people today who are going out of their way to dismiss the President of the United States. Dismissing him because he is too black. Because he is too young. Because he is too foreign. Because he is too liberal.

And now they are dismissing him because he won the Nobel Peace Prize, and they don’t think he deserves it.

But guess what? Obama himself doesn’t think that he deserves the award. Not for personal achievement anyway. From his speech this morning:

“I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear, I do not view it as recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations. To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize. Men and women who have inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. . . . And I know that throughout history the Nobel Peace prize has not been used to honor specific achievement but it’s also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action. A call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.”
But again, I think Obama is being a little too humble. I think that there is a level of achievement that needs to be considered. Obama has become a force for a new dialogue and a symbol for peaceful resolution of conflict.

In reality, the prize is just as much a statement for the world’s positive opinion of Obama's world view as it is a statement for the world’s negative view of the policies of his predecessor.

Where Bush strived to develop an anti-missile system to oppose the non-existent Russian threat, Obama has dismantled that effort. Where Bush tried to push the production of another fighter plane, the F-22, Obama killed the project as an unneeded war weapon that was also a waste of taxpayer money (getting thanks from no Republicans). Where Bush and McCain were all for a military confrontation in Iran (Remember ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb Iran?), Obama has opened dialogue with them (as he said he would). Where Bush inflamed the passions of the Muslim world, Obama went to Cairo and his speech there on that day brought Muslims to their feet.

Because we are here in America, maybe we can’t see it. We are too close to the situation perhaps. Internationally, Obama is simply seen from a different perspective. Through different eyes.

No, I will not join the chorus of voices dismissing Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. I think he merits it. I think that the only thing that is completely wrong with this is that the man is still only 48 years old. Only 48 and he not only has become the President of the United States and an internationally respected figure, but now has a Nobel under his belt.

What do you do after that?

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